Prostrate Cancer : No Longer The Over 50s Disease

Prostrate Cancer : No Longer The Over 50s Disease

A groundbreaking study has revealed that prostate cancer is no longer exclusively a disease of individuals over 50 years old.

The research showed prostate cancer cases in those under 50 have tripled between 1990 and 2019, marking the second-largest spike in any cancer, only surpassed by trachea cancer.

Conducted jointly by the University of Edinburgh and Zhejiang University School of Medicine, China, the study was published in BMJ Oncology.

It discovered that the overall number of cancer cases in under 50s increased by 79 per cent since 1990.

The researchers analyzed data from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2019, which found that total cancer cases rose from 1.82 million in 1990 to 3.26 million in 2019.

Over three decades, prostate cancer cases surged from 7,830 to 22,580, increasing at an annual rate of 2.23 per cent. The survival rate improved significantly as well – from less than one in four to around one in seven.

Despite these findings, the NHS does not offer national screening for prostate cancer due to unproven benefits outweighing risks.

Men aged 50 or older can request their GP to test their prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels for early detection.

Physicians from Queen’s University Belfast’s Centre for Public Health argue that these findings challenge common perceptions surrounding cancers affecting younger age groups.

The study also noted a “global surge in early-onset cancers.” Other than genetics, factors such as obesity, alcohol consumption, unhealthy diets, lack of exercise, and high blood sugar are believed to contribute to the rise.

While breast cancer remains the most prevalent cancer among the under-50 age group, early-onset liver cancer cases and deaths experienced a significant decline.

Though global deaths increased by 27.7 per cent over time to surpass one million in 2019, Western Europe, Australasia, and North America topped the list for early-onset cancer prevalence.

Experts emphasize the urgency for prevention and early detection measures and optimized treatment strategies tailored to younger patients.

Cancer Research UK highlights that 1.2 million lives have been saved since the mid-1980s thanks to advances in cancer care within the United Kingdom.

Dr Claire Knight of Cancer Research UK stresses that despite these “alarming” findings, cancer remains primarily a disease of older individuals.

She mentions that risk factors, improved detection, and genetics may contribute to the increasing early-onset cases.

To minimize their cancer risk, people are encouraged to quit smoking, maintain a balanced diet, exercise regularly and practice sun safety.


  • Roberto

    Roberto, dedicated 20 years to the financial sector before leaving that industry and retraining as a counsellor. He has now retired and enjoys writing and using his knowledge and ability to help others. In his spare time, he is an avid skier and also enjoys more mundane pastimes as family board games.

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